University: Falmouth University
What and where did you study? What encouraged you to study on this course? I studied Press and Editorial Photography at Falmouth University and I graduated last year. Initially this course wasn’t on my radar at all until I went to Falmouth’s open day. I think it was the passion for stories and preparing you for the industry that pricked up my ears so to speak, and ever since managing to get a place on the course I have never looked back.
People and their stories is now my greatest passion, and without this course I could have taken a completely different route and never had the wonderful opportunities that I have had whilst being at Falmouth.
Can you give us an overview of your shortlisted series of work? What is it called and what is it about? The project that was shortlisted for South West Graduate Photography Prize was a series called for someone else. The project looks at unpaid carer’s, who care for family and friends, and what their role entails. The main aim of the project is to show the carer as their own person and look at how they choose to spend their spare time and how valuable this time is for them.
There are over 60,000 carer’s in Cornwall alone, never mind the UK and further a field, so a huge part of our population have someone who is dependent on them so I felt that this was an extremely important topic.
What are some common themes or subjects that run through your work? What equipment did you use to make your series? So far a lot of my projects have surrounded the topic of dementia or healthcare, but as a photographer I generally govern the projects I do by my own curiosity and this can take me across all types of themes and subjects. However, saying that, in the future I do see my work becoming more focused on topics surrounding midwifery and motherhood because of a project I am currently working on within the NHS that I am hugely excited about and I have a found a great interest and passion for.
At the moment, I shoot medium format for project work, this is either on my Mamiya RB 67 or my Mamiya 7 with Portra 400 or 800. For this project, I used the 7 and a lot of Portra 800 as it just seemed to fit the format of the project and lighting situations I was thrown into. Apart from that my equipment is simple, a light meter and tripod when required but I prefer to focus on the subject, framing and just adapt and deal with every situation as it comes.
Who or what influences and motivates you the most when making new work? I always find this the hardest question because my influences, I think, come from all sorts of places. Sometimes TV, magazines, books, public art, social media the list is almost endless however I do have some favourite photographers such as Sian Davey, Julian Germaine and Laura Pannack to name a few. I constantly refer to these or go back to them when in need of immediate inspiration.
I am also influenced a lot, with regards to ideas and the progression of a project, by conversations with people. A lot of my projects are completed over a long period so staying motivated is important and by speaking to people throughout the process my excitement to complete the work continues and is sometimes enhanced.
How did you feel about being shortlisted for the South West Graduate Photography Prize? Oh it was a huge shock. I think when most people make a project, or maybe it’s just me, but you’re not always sure who’s going to see it or how it will be received and it’s all a little uncertain until you finally release it into the world and it was just so lovely to know that out of hundreds of other projects, the one I had created had been noticed. It was the final confirmation that the project was successful in its aims and had managed to connect with people.
What exposure have you gained as a result of being shortlisted? How do you think it will benefit your future as a photographer?The amount of exposure I think is hard to calculate, obviously, there was a lot of online exposure but the most important thing for me was having the work exhibited so it can be seen by people who didn’t know they were going to see it.
When creating work my main aim is for the stories of those involved to be shared with as many people as possible, hopefully having an impact on them and it was great to witness this first hand in London. I also received a few lovely messages on social media and by email from people who had seen the work which was completely unexpected but another confirmation that the project was doing what I had hoped.
Being a part of the South West Graduate Photography prize has been a great experience and I think that being able to say that I was shortlisted and had this opportunity is the greatest benefit. We got the opportunity to network with the other photographers shortlisted, industry professionals and the fotonow team, all of this has been extremely useful and has helped me to progress as a photographer.
Can you give any advice to other or future graduates? There is so much I could say but I think mainly believe and have confidence in your own work, enter it into as many competitions as possible because you never know who will see it or what opportunities will arise. And even if you don’t have to confidence in your work do it anyway.
Tell us about any plans you have for your work in the future. As I already mentioned, I am currently working on a new project within the NHS whilst also slowly developing this project (for someone else) as well, and I hope to exhibit some of this work again soon. However, my main aim is to keep doing project work on the side but my main ambition is to work on exhibitions or as a curator within the photography industry and at the end of the summer I am starting an internship within a small photo agency to help move towards this idea. So, I take every opportunity that comes way and am really looking forward to seeing what the future brings.
Follow this link to Hannah's website where you can find out more about for someone else.